Municipalities (German : Gemeinden, singular Gemeinde) are the lowest level of official territorial division in Germany. This is most commonly the third level of territorial division, ranking after the Land (state) and Kreis (district). A Gemeinde is one level lower in those states which also include Regierungsbezirke (singular: Regierungsbezirk) as an intermediate territorial division. The Gemeinde is one level higher if it is not part of a Samtgemeinde. Only 10 municipalities in Germany have fifth level administrative subdivisions and all of them are in Bavaria. The highest degree of autonomy may be found in the Gemeinden which are not part of a Kreis. These Gemeinden are referred to as Kreisfreie Städte or Stadtkreise , sometimes translated as having "city status". This can be the case even for small municipalities. However, many smaller municipalities have lost this city status in various administrative reforms in the last 40 years[ clarification needed ] when they were incorporated into a Kreis. In some states they retained a higher measure of autonomy than the other municipalities of the Kreis (e.g. Große Kreisstadt). Municipalities titled Stadt (town or city) are urban municipalities while those titled Gemeinde are classified as rural municipalities.
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With more than 3,400,000 inhabitants, the most populated municipality of Germany is the city of Berlin; and the least populated is Gröde in Schleswig-Holstein. The cities of Aachen and Saarbrücken have a special status, which is why the numbers in the respective states North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland appear in brackets in the table.
List updated on August 1, 2009.
|Federal state||Municipalities||Municipalities |
|Average no. of |
|List (Cities, Towns, |
|Baden-Württemberg||1,101||9||9,764||32.41||C, T, M|
|Bavaria||2,056||25||6,090||33.03||C, T, M|
|Brandenburg||419||4||6,052||70.36||C, T, M|
|Hesse||426||5||14,255||48.80||C, T, M|
|Lower Saxony||1,022||9||7,800||45.25||C, T, M|
|Mecklenburg-Vorpommern||818||2||2,053||28.34||C, T, M|
|North Rhine-Westphalia||396||22 (23)||45,446||86.08||C, T, M|
|Rhineland-Palatinate||2,306||12||1,754||8.61||C, T, M|
|Saarland||52||(1)||19,935||49.40||C, T, M|
|Saxony||491||3||8,595||37.51||C, T, M|
|Saxony-Anhalt||851||3||2,835||24.03||C, T, M|
|Schleswig-Holstein||1,116||4||2,542||14.07||C, T, M|
|Thuringia||955||6||2,397||16.93||C, T, M|
|Germany||12,013||108 (110)||6,844||29.35||C, T, M|
A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished (usually) from the county, which may encompass rural territory or numerous small communities such as towns, villages and hamlets.
An administrative division, unit, entity, area or region, also referred to as a subnational entity, constituent unit, or country subdivision, is a portion of a country or other region delineated for the purpose of administration. Administrative divisions are granted a certain degree of autonomy and are usually required to manage themselves through their own local governments. Countries are divided up into these smaller units to make managing their land and the affairs of their people easier. A country may be divided into provinces, states, counties, cantons or other sub-units, which, in turn, may be divided in whole or in part into municipalities, counties or others.
A local government is a form of public administration which, in a majority of contexts, exists as the lowest tier of administration within a given state. The term is used to contrast with offices at state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government and also to supranational government which deals with governing institutions between states. Local governments generally act within powers delegated to them by legislation or directives of the higher level of government. In federal states, local government generally comprises the third tier of government, whereas in unitary states, local government usually occupies the second or third tier of government, often with greater powers than higher-level administrative divisions.
A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national government.
The principality of Liechtenstein is divided into eleven municipalities, most consisting of only a single town. Five of the Gemeinden fall within the electoral district of Unterland, while the other six are within the Oberland.
A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or counties, several municipalities, subdivisions of municipalities, school district, or political district.
Amt is a type of administrative division governing a group of municipalities, today only in Germany, but formerly also common in other countries of Northern Europe. Its size and functions differ by country and the term is roughly equivalent to a US township or county or English shire district.
A Verbandsgemeinde is a low-level administrative unit in the German federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt. A Verbandsgemeinde is typically composed of a small group of villages or towns.
In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not governed by a local municipal corporation; similarly an unincorporated community is a settlement that is not governed by its own local municipal corporation, but rather is administered as part of larger administrative divisions, such as a township, parish, borough, county, city, canton, state, province or country. Occasionally, municipalities dissolve or disincorporate, which may happen if they become fiscally insolvent, and services become the responsibility of a higher administration. Widespread unincorporated communities and areas are a distinguishing feature of the United States and Canada. In most other countries of the world, there are either no unincorporated areas at all, or these are very rare; typically remote, outlying, sparsely populated or uninhabited areas.
Municipalities are the lowest level of administrative division in Switzerland. Each municipality is part of one of the Swiss cantons, which form the Swiss Confederation. In most cantons municipalities are also part of districts or other sub-cantonal administrative divisions.
Ukraine is divided into several levels of territorial entities. On the first level there are 27 regions: 24 oblasts, one autonomous republic and two "cities with special status". Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, Crimea and Sevastopol became de facto administrated by the Russian Federation, which claims them as the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol. Most states have not recognised them as being Russian territory.
In all German states except of the three city states, the primary administrative subdivision higher than a Gemeinde (Municipality) is the Landkreis or Kreis. Most major cities in Germany are not part of any Kreis, but instead cumulate the functions of a municipality and a Kreis; such a city is referred to as a Kreisfreie Stadt or Stadtkreis.
Municipalities are the second-level administrative divisions of Mexico, where the first-level administrative division is the state. As of the establishment of two new municipalities in Chiapas in September 2017, there are 2,448 municipalities in Mexico, not including the 16 delegaciones of Mexico City. The internal political organization and their responsibilities are outlined in the 115th article of the 1917 Constitution and detailed in the constitutions of the states to which they belong. Municipalities are distinct from cities, a form of Mexican locality; some municipalities as large as states, while cities can be measured in city blocks.
The municipalities and cities are the second level administrative subdivisions of Serbia. The country is divided into 145 municipalities and 29 cities, forming the basic level of local government.
Seelitz is a municipality in the district of Mittelsachsen, in Saxony, Germany. It is part of the administrative partnership Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Rochlitz based in the eponymous town.
Diesdorf is a municipality (Flecken) in the district Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.
Populated places in Ukraine are systematized into two major categories: urban and rural. Urban populated places can be either cities or urban settlements, while rural populated places can be either villages or rural settlements. According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census there are 1,344 urban populated places and 28,621 rural populated places in Ukraine.
In the Republic of Austria, the municipality is the administrative division encompassing a single village, town, or city. The municipality has corporate status and local self-government on the basis of parliamentary-style representative democracy: a municipal council elected through a form of party-list system enacts municipal laws, a municipal executive board and a mayor appointed by the council are in charge of municipal administration. Austria is currently partitioned into 2,098 municipalities, ranging in population from about fifty to almost two million. There is no unincorporated territory in Austria.